Fans of muscle-bound, tough-as-nails romance heroes are sure to find plenty to love in Lori Foster's Holding Strong, the newest installment in her Ultimate series, which takes place in the world of mixed martrial arts fighters. When Cherry Payton, a independent and charming daycare worker trying to put a painful past behind her, meets the ultimate alpha male, Denver Lewis, all bets on resisting their attraction are off. We caught up with Lori Foster and chatted about MMA, her ideal date night and more in a 7 questions interview.
Describe your book in one sentence.
A hunky MMA fighter wants more than just one night with a woman fleeing her past and those who would hurt her.
What inspired you to pen a series based in the world of MMA fighters?
I’ve always been a fan of MMA. The sport has been refined over the years and now features some of the most elite athletes in the world—very ripped, alpha athletes. Any high-level sports competition would require an intense schedule, keen intelligence and a lot of motivation and dedication which helps create the perfect backdrop for romantic conflict, as well as the perfectly capable hero.
This is actually my second series of MMA fighters, and the first was very popular with readers. I’ve loosely tied the series together with cameos from the first set of male protagonists in this series.
What makes your two heroes, Denver and Cherry, such a great match?
Their personalities are like the ying and yang of relationships. Cherry is smart and independent, and so madly in love with Denver that, when he doesn’t immediately reciprocate, she tries to hide her feelings and of course, Denver misinterprets that.
Denver is big and macho, something of a nice chauvinist because while he trusts in Cherry’s intelligence, he enjoys the role of bigger, stronger protector.
Once they do finally get together, Cherry wants to insulate their new relationship from all the ugliness of her past, but Denver badly wants to eradicate the ugliness for her.
Finally they have to work together and protect each other.
What does your ideal date night look like?
My husband and I have been together almost 37 years, and we’re very much in sync. We both love dinner out at a casual restaurant—steak for him, grilled chicken for me—and then an early movie, usually an action or horror flick. (He doesn’t mind “chick flicks” but I’m not a fan.) Then it's back home to relax together on the couch watching the news or one of our select TV series. We’re both very much homebodies, totally casual, and if we’re in crowds, we prefer them to be crowds of family and our menagerie of pets.
As an avid movie-lover, what’s your favorite book to film adaptation?
Now I feel terrible, but I’m not sure I’ve ever read a book that was made into a movie. The books I LOVE (romance novels) haven’t been made into movies, and the movies I love were not, to my knowledge, ever books. If they were, I didn’t read them.
I remember a wonderful Linda Howard book that was made into a TV movie, and if I hadn’t been told it was based on the book, I’d never have recognized it, so I can’t say it was a fave. The book, YES, the movie, definitely not. I’ve never read Fifty Shades, but I might eventually see the movie . . . maybe when it’s available in the privacy of my own home. 😉 Some of my favorite movies are A History of Violence, Perfect Get Away, John Wick and Equalizer. They may have been books, but I have no idea.
If you had to spend the weekend with one of your heroes, who would you choose and why?
Hmm . . . well, it’d be one of the guys on a lake, like one of the Buckhorn brothers, or Dare or Jackson from the Men of Honor series, or maybe even Joe Winston from the Visitation series. I’m going to say . . . Gabe, from the Buckhorn brothers, because the other guys I mentioned would intimidate me for sure, but Gabe is pretty laid-back and relaxed. I think we could just do a few boat rides and swim.
What would you like to ask the next “7 Questions” Romance participant?
What’s their favorite character who was easier to write or a plot that kept him / her engaged. As an author, I know some are just plain harder than others. 🙂 The ones that practically write themselves make it all worthwhile!